Infobox Former Arab villages in Palestine
date=early November, 1948 [
Benny Morris(2004): "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited", p. XVII. Morris also gives cause(s) of depopulation.]
Shomera, Even Menachem, Goren
Iqrit ( _ar. إقرت or إقرث, "Iqrith") was a Palestinian village, located 25 kilometers northeast of
Acre. Originally allotted to form part of an Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan, it was captured and depopulated by Israelduring the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.cite book|title="Sacred Landscape: Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948"|author= Meron Benvenisti|year=2002|publisher= University of California Press|isbn=0-520-23422-7]
Iqrit contains mosaic floors, remains of a wine press, rock-hewn tombs, cisterns, and granite implements. The village also has many other archaeological sites in its vicinity. The
Canaaniteserected a statue for the god Melqartof Tyre in the village. When the Crusaders occupied Iqrit, they called it Acref. Açref is a name still commonly used for the village among surrounding Bedouintribes. After the Crusaders left, Iqrit remained devastated, until it was re-built, joining the county of Tibnin, district of Safadin 1596. At this time, its population numbered 374 people with an economy dependent largely on goats, beehives and agriculture. There was a press used for both oliveand grapeproduction. The population dropped to about 100 people by the late nineteenth century. The village area contained numerous archaeological sites.
Early twentieth century
Like a number of other villages in the neighborhood, Iqrit was linked to the coastal highway from
Acreto Ras an-Naqura via a secondary road leading to Tarbikha. There were 339 people living in 50 houses in 1931 and that number rose to 490 by 1945. At the moment of their eviction in November 1948, there were 491 citizens in Iqrit, 432 of them Greek Catholics, inhabiting the entire area of the village. Some of the 59 Muslims of the village rented their homes in Iqrit, while others built their houses in esh-Shafaya.
Only part of the village land was cultivated and the rest was covered with woods of
oak, laureland carobtrees. By 1948, the village owned about 600 dunams (600,000 m²) of private property with groves of figtrees that served all inhabitants of Iqrit and the surroundings. The groves covered the hill of al-Bayad, and the remaining cultivated land was used for crops of lentils, as well as tobaccoand other fruit trees.
There were a private elementary school which was administrated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, two natural water springs, many other water-wells for collected rainwater within the village area, including a large pool for rainwater. There were many threshing floors mainly located between the built-up village lands and the cemetery.
The big Greek Orthodox church remain standing.
Capture and expulsion
According to Morris, the villagers of Iqrit were outright expelled by the Israeli Army in November 1948, (together with the villagers of
Kafr Bir'im, Nabi Rubin, Tarbikha) "without Cabinet knowledge, debate, or approval" - though, almost inevitably, they received "post facto " Cabinet endorsement."cite book|title= 1948 and after; Israel and the Palestinians|author= Benny Morris|page=281|publisher= Oxford University Press|year=1994] While some of the former inhabitants of Iqrit became refugees in Lebanon, most are now internally displaced Palestinians who are also citizens of Israel. Iqrit was captured on October 31 1948by the Haganah's Oded Brigadeduring Operation Hiram, an Israeli offensive which advanced on the coastal road towards Lebanon. Iqrit and Tarbikhasurrendered and the villagers stayed in their homes. That 'luxury' did not last for long. Iqrit and a number of other villages in the region fell victims to a policy known as "an Arabless border strip". Fact|date=August 2008
Trucked away never to return
Six days after its surrender, on
5 November 1948, the Israeli Army ordered the villagers to evacuate the village, and that they would be returned in two weeks, time when the military operations are over. Some went to Lebanonand the Israeli Army trucked the majority to Rame, a town between Acreand Safad.
In July 1951, the villagers of Iqrit pleaded their case before Israel's Supreme Court, and the court ruled in favour of the right to return to their village. After this judgement, the Military Government found another justification to prevent them from returning. The villagers appealed to the Supreme Court again and were scheduled to have their case considered on
6 February 1952. However, on Christmas Dayin 1951, Israeli Defense Forcestook the mukhtarof Iqrit to the top of a nearby hill to force him to watch as Israeli troops blew up every house in the village.cite journal|title=Iqrit and Bir Am: A Christmas Tale With a Moral|author=Richard Curtiss|journal=Washington Report on Middle East Affairs|date=December 1987|pages=65|url=http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/1287/8712004.html]
In his book "Blood Brothers", Father
Elias Chacour, who was a child away at school at the time, records the story of what happened, as told to him by his brothers:
cquote|"For the second time, the village elders marched across the hill and presented the order to the Zionist soldiers...Without question or dispute, the commanding officer read the order. He shrugged. 'This is fine...We need some time to pull out. You can return on the 25th.'
On Christmas! What an incredible Christmas gift for the village. The elders fairly ran across the hill to Gish to spread the news. At long last they would all be going home. The Christmas Eve vigil became a celebration of thanksgiving and joyful praise. On Christmas morning...bundled in sweaters and old coats supplied by the Bishop's relief workers, the villagers gathered in the first light of day...Mother, Father, Wardi, and my brothers all joined in singing a jubilant Christmas hymn as they mounted the hill...At the top of the hill their hymn trailed into silence...Why were the soldiers still there? In the distance, a soldier shouted, and they realized they had been seen. A cannon blast sheared the silence. Then another—a third...Tank shells shrieked into the village, exploding in fiery destruction. Houses blew apart like paper. Stones and dust flew amid the red flames and billowing black smoke. One shell slammed into the side of the church, caving in a thick stone wall and blowing off half the roof. The bell tower teetered, the bronze bell knelling, and somehow held amid the dust clouds and cannon fire... Then all was silent—except for the weeping of women and the terrified screams of babies and children.
Mother and Father stood shaking, huddled together with Wardi and my brothers. In a numbness of horror, they watched as bulldozers plowed through the ruins, knocking down much of what had not already blown apart or tumbled. At last, Father said—to my brothers or to God, they were never sure—'Forgive them.' Then he led them back to Gish."|40px|40px|Father Elias Chacour
In its third verdict (Feb. 1952), the court blamed the villagers for depending on promises from the military ruler of
Galilee, instead of benefiting from the "legal medication" which was "given" to them by the court in its first relevant verdict.
Aftermath to the present-day
A number of Jewish settlements were built near or on the village's land. They are
Shomera(1949 on Tarbikha ruins), Even Menachem(1960) and Gornot HaGalil(1980).
Today, only the building of Greek Catholic Church still stands. There is rubble from the destroyed houses and some fig, grape, almond, olive and other orchards. On the shoulder looking at the road passing by from the north, the cemetery of Iqrit is still located, fenced and annually maintained. There is a cowshed that belongs to the settlement of Shomera, on the western entrance of the village, as well.
The first legal action against the state of Israel was brought in 1951 by 5 men of Iqrit when
Muhammad Nimr al-Hawariacting as their lawyer was instrumental in gaining the right of return for the men of Iqrit. On 31 July 1951 the Israeli courts recognised the rights of the villagers to their land and their right to return to it. The court said the land was not abandoned and therefore could not be placed under the custodian of enemy property. [ [http://ipsnewsite.mysite4now.com/enakba/exodus/Ryan,%20Refugees%20within%20Israel.pdf Joseph L. Ryan, S.J.] "Refugees within Israel: The Case of the Villages of Kafr Bir'imand Iqrit" in 2, no. 4 (Sum. 73): 55-81.]
In the 1970s, villagers from Iqrit conducted a series of sit-ins in the town's former church over a period of six years, and the case of Iqrit (and of Kafr Biri'm) was frequently covered by the Israeli media.cite web|title=Case-owners, not land-owners|publisher=Ittijah|date=
18 July 2003|accessdate=2008-01-28|url=http://www.ittijah.org/newsletter/newsletter03_07_18.html] Several prominent Israeli cultural and artistic figures supported the movement to repatriate the Iqrit villagers and public empathy for their plight was widespread. While the Israeli authorities recognized the right to return of the villagers in principle, officials resisted implementing this right. Said Golda Meirin 1972:
It is not only consideration of security [that prevent] an official decision regarding Bi'rim and Iqrit, but the desire to avoid [setting] a precedent. We cannot allow ourselves to become more and more entangled and to reach a point from which we are unable to extricate ourselves."cite book|title="Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948"|author=
Meron Benvenisti|publisher= University of California Press|year=2000|pages=325-326|isbn=0520211545] Meron Benvenistinotes how it has been argued that the villagers of Iqrit and Bi'rim are not the only present-absentees in Israel, and therefore recognizing their right of return is perceived as setting a "dangerous precedent" that would be followed by other similar demands. However, Benvenisti himself has argued that it could be a positive precedent if the Iqrit villagers were to be allocated the small amount of empty land they need to establish a community settlement on their own land. [Meron Benvenisti: [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=314022 The High Court and fear of return] , 3 July 2003, Haaretz]
In 2003, some of Iqrit's villagers repetitioned the Supreme Court so as to facilitate their return to Iqrit, but the petition was rejected by the court. Villagers continue to hold out hope for their right of return. Recently, four families built their houses opposite the village from west, on a side hill of al-Bayad.
*Sabri Jiryis: "
The Arabs in Israel" 1st American edition 1976 ISBN 0-85345-377-2 (updated from the 1966 ed.) With a foreword by Noam Chomsky. (First English edition; Beirut, Institute for Palestine Studies, 1968). Chapter 4.
* [http://www.iqrit.org/eng/main.htm Iqrit Heritage Society]
* [http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Iqrit/index.html Iqrit] Palestine Remembered
* [http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=81662&contrassID=2&subContrassID=3&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y&itemNo=81662 Justice for Ikrit and Biram] Haaretz, 10 October 2001 he icon
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7361036.stm Clinging to dream of Palestine village] BBC News, 23 April 2008
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Kafr Bir'im — Infobox Former Arab villages in Palestine name=Kafr Bir im imgsize= caption= arname=كفر برعم meaning= altSp=Kefr Berem district=sf population=710 popyear=1945 area=12,250 areakm=12.3 date=early November 1948 [Benny Morris (2004): The Birth of the … Wikipedia
Muhammad Nimr al-Hawari — (born 1908, date of death unknown) was a Nazareth born Bedouin who studied law in Jerusalem, graduating in 1939. al Hawari served in the British Mandate administration as chief interpreter in the district court of Jaffa and chairman of the… … Wikipedia
1949–1956 Palestinian exodus — The 1949 1956 Palestinian exodus was the continuation of the 1948 1949 exodus of Palestinian Arabs from Israeli controlled territory after the signing of the Cease fire agreements. [ [http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88… … Wikipedia
Arab citizens of Israel — Infobox Ethnic group group = Arab citizens of Israel عرب إسرائيل (العرب الإسرائيليون) rlm;ערבים אזרחי ישראל Emile Habibi • Ahmed Tibi • Salah Tarif caption = population = 1,144,000 plus270,000 in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights (2006) 19.7%… … Wikipedia
Joseph Raya — infobox bishopbiog name = Archbishop Joseph Raya Melkite Greek Catholic See = Eparchate of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth and All Galilee Title = Archbishop of Haifa Period = October 20, 1968 mdash;July 13, 1974 consecration = Patriarch Maximos V Hakim… … Wikipedia
Maximos V Hakim — Maximos V Patriarch of Antioch Church Melkite Greek Catholic Church See Patriarch of Antioch Enthroned November 22, 1967 Reign ended … Wikipedia
Internally displaced Palestinians — is a term used to refer to Palestinians and their descendants, who as a result of the 1948 Arab Israeli war became internally displaced refugees within what became the state of Israel. If the definition is restricted to those displaced in the… … Wikipedia
Jish — Infobox Israel municipality name=Jish (Gush Halav) imgsize= hebname=Hebrew|גִ שׁ, גּוּשׁ חָלָב arname=الجش meaning= founded= type=lc typefrom= stdHeb= altOffSp= altUnoSp= district=north population=2,700 popyear=2006 area dunam=6916mayor=Henry… … Wikipedia
Ikrit (village) — Ikrit ou Iqrit (en arabe : إقرت or إقرث, Iqrith) était un village palestinien, situé à 25 kilomètres au nord est d Acre dans le nord d Israël. À l origine, il était inclus dans l État palestinien prévu dans le plan de partage des Nations… … Wikipédia en Français
Present absentee — Part of a series on Palestinians … Wikipedia